Episode
May 10, 2016 at 5:48 am

Kurt Eichenwald, a senior writer for Newsweek, stops by to explain his article “American Democracy Was Broken Before Trump.” How does he view the quality of American democracy and the 2016 Presidential election? We’ll find out tonight. There was outrage and anger in Brooklyn last month when many New Yorkers showed up to the polls for the April 19 primaries and found out they couldn’t vote. Officials say over 125,000 voters were mysteriously removed from the rolls, leading New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer to launch an audit of the city’s Board of Elections. He joins us tonight with the latest on his investigation. Then next, guns and Christianity. For some in America, the two are inextricably linked. Yet is it possible to be pro-gun and pro-life? In her new documentary, The Armor of Light, filmmaker Abigail Disney follows the story of a reverend as he struggles to piece together how guns should fit into his ministry, and how they already do. She joins us to discuss the relationship between the church and guns, and how this documentary challenges those ideas. Finally, survival in the animal kingdom may just depend on making friends. Many animals, from the largest to the smallest, often bond with the most unexpected collaborators to succeed in the wild. Executive Producer of PBS Nature, Fred Kaufman, stops by to discuss the new film Nature’s Perfect Partners, which premieres on May 11th and follows the bond between some of the most unexpected pairs in the animal kingdom.

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May 09, 2016 at 6:28 pm

There was outrage and anger in Brooklyn last month when many New Yorkers showed up to the polls for the April 19 primaries and found out they couldn’t vote. Officials say over 125,000 voters were mysteriously removed from the rolls, leading New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer to launch an audit of the city’s Board of Elections. He joins us tonight with the latest on his investigation.

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Episode
May 07, 2016 at 5:49 am

On Wednesday, April 27th, over 700 law enforcement officers conducted a bust in a New York City housing authority complex in The Bronx. This one bust led to the arrest and indictment of over 120 suspected gang members. Despite this success and the success of similar sweeps in the city, gang-related violence has increased, accounting for half of 2015’s 1,042 shootings and 40% of its 318 murders. Shanduke McPhatter, a rehabilitated gang member, is the founder and the executive director of the nonprofit organization Gangstas Making Astronomical Community Changes, which works with formally incarcerated men and women to help them transition back into society. We discuss the increase in gang violence, G.M.A.C.C., and what steps are being taken to combat the city’s gang problems.

Next, you’ve probably heard of “The Three Tenors” and the “Three Musketeers,” but what about the “Three Doctors?” As part of our ongoing initiative “Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America,” MetroFocus contributor Mike Schneider talks to Dr. Sampson Davis about how a pact between him and his friends when they were teenagers helped him survive the mean streets of Newark and achieve his dream of being a doctor. Then finally, love horse racing? Live in New York? Want to place a bet? You can’t! Not anymore. Tomorrow is the Kentucky Derby, but as some prepare to bet on those competing on the track, we’ll look back on New York in the 1970’s when the city was the only place outside of Nevada to legalize off-track betting. During that time, OTB parlors generated millions of dollars in bets each year, before it was wiped out in 2010. Filmmaker Joseph Fusco covers the rise and fall of this notorious chapter in his new documentary “Finish Line: The Rise and Demise of Off Track Betting.”

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May 06, 2016 at 6:27 pm

Love horse racing? Live in New York? Want to place a bet? You can’t! Not anymore. Tomorrow is the Kentucky Derby, but as some prepare to bet on those competing on the track, we’ll look back on New York in the 1970’s when the city was the only place outside of Nevada to legalize off-track betting. During that time, OTB parlors generated millions of dollars in bets each year, before it was wiped out in 2010. Filmmaker Joseph Fusco covers the rise and fall of this notorious chapter in his new documentary “Finish Line: The Rise and Demise of Off Track Betting.”

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May 05, 2016 at 6:28 pm

Laura Nahmias, Politico New York’s City Hall reporter, sits down with us to talk about the campaign finance laws that prompted an investigation by the New York State Board of Elections into the donations Mayor Bill DeBlasio received from his 2013 mayoral campaign. These donations are said to be between him, union allies, and political groups with the alleged intention of creating a campaign that would allow Democrats to regain control of the State Senate. A Democratic controlled State Senate was never reached, but a probe was initiated to investigate the campaign for ignoring the fact that individual donors are supposed to adhere to a limit of $10,000 donated to a campaign. How is the Mayor’s office handling the controversy sparked by this investigation? We have analysis.

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May 05, 2016 at 6:27 pm

Bella Abzug didn’t take “no” for an answer. The congresswoman was a New York political icon in the 70’s, and will forever be remembered as a champion of women’s rights, and for encouraging a new generation of women to take up leadership roles. Now, nearly twenty years after Bella’s passing, her daughter Liz continues her cause with a non-profit organization named after her mother. Liz Abzug shares with us how the Bella Abzug Leadership Institute is trying to level the political playing field by helping young women get the necessary education and training to become tomorrow’s leaders

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Episode
May 04, 2016 at 5:54 am

He was once one of the most powerful politicians in New York: one of the so-called “three men in the room” alongside former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Governor Andrew Cuomo. Former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was convicted last year on seven counts of corruption charges, which included honest-services fraud, extortion and money laundering. Prosecutors had said that Silver accumulated nearly $4 million dollars in kickbacks from arrangements involving a real-estate company and an oncologist. Now, after nearly six months, Silver is set to receive his sentence, and we’re here to discuss its implications. Next, Auschwitz or Bergen-Belsen might immediately bring to mind the horrors of the Holocaust and concentration camps, but do you know the word Treblinka? If not, then you should. Treblinka was a Nazi extermination camp that operated for just fifteen months during World War II. In that time, as many as 1 million people were murdered in its gas chambers, with thousands of men, women, and children killed every day. In the end, only about 100 people were liberated from the camp. The last witness to the horrors within Treblinka, Samuel Willenberg, died this past February, but not before sharing his testimony of what happened behind the death camp’s walls. That testimony will be heard in PBS’ Treblinka’s Last Witness on May 4, but tonight, we have Rabbi Marvin Hier, the founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, to talk about Treblinka’s legacy and Samuel Willenberg. Then finally, “Mercedes Benz,” “Me and Bobby McGee,” and “Piece of My Heart.” Janis Joplin will always be remembered as a rock and roll legend, both in her career and her life, which ended tragically at just 27 years old due to a heroin overdose. Janis’ sister, Laura Joplin, joins us 45 years later to remember her sister’s life, and explosive voice, in anticipation of the new American Masters documentary Janis: Little Girl Blue, which premieres nationwide tonight.

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May 03, 2016 at 6:28 pm

He was once one of the most powerful politicians in New York: one of the so-called “three men in the room” alongside former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Governor Andrew Cuomo. Former New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was convicted last year on seven counts of corruption charges, which included honest-services fraud, extortion and money laundering. Prosecutors had said that Silver accumulated nearly $4 million dollars in kickbacks from arrangements involving a real-estate company and an oncologist. Now, after nearly six months, Silver is set to receive his sentence, and we’re here to discuss its implications.

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Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, the Anderson Family Fund, Judy and Josh Weston, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, The Dorothy Schiff Endowment for News and Public Affairs Programming, Jody and John Arnhold, Rosalind P. Walter, Ellen and James S. Marcus, the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation, Laura and Jim Ross.

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